Careers and LinkedIn often intertwine. Looking for a job? Are you on LinkedIn? The social media venue conjures up different reactions – some positive, some not.
Count Chaim Shapiro among LinkedIn’s fans. The veteran career counselor has been involved with LinkedIn for more than a decade, making himself an expert and giving workshops across the United States about how to succeed on the platform.
For her part, Frappell has found LinkedIn a useful advertising and human resources tool.
“The LinkedIn platform combines job listings, candidate search and referrals all in one place,” she said. “It also exposes interconnections in your network and allows you to easily stay in contact with former colleagues — all valuable features.
“LinkedIn encourages users to create keyword-rich profiles that include their job title, relevant skills, seniority and who they work for,” Frappell said. “This enables a powerful search facility for business-to-business marketers who can segment their ad campaigns based on specific expertise.”
She contends that LinkedIn has disrupted the HR space.
“Gone are the days of listing an ad online and working through a pile of unqualified applicants,” Frappell said. “Now, recruiters can to do their research and hand pick suitable candidates, thanks to LinkedIn.”
The ultimate success for job seekers starts with what they post online.
“A winning LinkedIn profile is one that attracts attention in a good way and brings you the leads or job offers you seek,” Shapiro said. “If it works, you’re the new expert. There is no LinkedIn magic. Being on LinkedIn is worthless unless you do it right.
“I have seen so many people hurt themselves by having a non-professional LinkedIn profile,” he said. “A ‘winning’ LinkedIn profile gets you noticed by your target audience. That can be employers and recruiters for job seekers and other business people for professionals.”
This is also the place to show talent.
“LinkedIn is your opportunity to set and display your ‘brand’ and expertise,” Shapiro said. “LinkedIn also shows up very high in the Google rankings when folks search your name. LinkedIn is essential for promoting your personal brand and story.”
Credible expertise is the key for profiles.
“The more you can show, the better,” Shapiro said. “At the same time, misspelled words will kill you.”
He noted the elements that make or break a LinkedIn profile, starting with what he calls the LinkedIn Triumvirate – “the three parts of LinkedIn that show up everywhere you do. Those are your name, profile picture, and headline.”
- You need a professional profile picture. Wear what you would wear to a networking event featuring big names in your That can be very different, depending on if you work at a startup or a bank. You can not use your company logo as your profile picture. Use a professional picture of just you.
- Add rich media content to your account. People are very visual. Instead of telling people that I can give a great LinkedIn workshop, I embedded a video of myself doing one.
- Update your background image. Make sure it is “on” your brand. Never use the LinkedIn default. I have a picture of myself giving a LinkedIn workshop to an involved crowd to promote my brand.
- The picture is essential. People relate to you on LinkedIn when they can “see” you. Grab that vanity URL as well.
An added pro tip: Shapiro suggests putting “your email address in your summary to make it easy for folks to contact you.”
Job seekers must take responsibility to make their profiles discoverable in search engines and on LinkedIn.
“Play the search engine optimization game,” Shapiro said. “Be sure your keywords and messages are loud and proud in your profile. That doesn’t mean shout, but be prominent and professional. Again, get that vanity URL.
“This is where the choices you make on LinkedIn will be critical,” he said. “Choose your industry wisely. Use the name of a major city for your location rather than a small suburb. Fill out your Skills section. These are highly searchable, and you can discover the top skills at your target company.”
Another important step is to optimize public profile settings.
“This is how you will appear to folks outside of your network,” Shapiro said. “I pop my LinkedIn URL into things I post online to rank me even higher. I also think that having more than five recommendations boosts you up on LinkedIn.”
There are ways job seekers can effectively define and create their LinkedIn headline pitch.
“Back up your pitch with figures and facts,” Shapiro said. “If you can link to examples, go for it. Treat your LinkedIn headline as your online elevator pitch.
“Your headline is the most valuable professional real estate on social media,” he said. “Make sure it tells readers everything they need to know to make them click to see more.”
This affects two types of posters, according to Shapiro:
- Job seekers: Tell me who you are and what you bring that makes me care.
- Business people. Tell me what pain points you can solve for your potential clients.
“Your headline shows up everywhere that you do on LinkedIn,” Shapiro said. “I recommend keeping it to the 130 characters but pack some real power. Ask yourself, if a recruiter or client sees nothing else, does your headline sell them on you?
“I repeat: Never use the default even though LinkedIn encourages it,” he said.
Shapiro prefers these best ways to engage on LinkedIn.
“When someone comments, respond,” he said. “Thank those who give legitimate endorsements. Ask questions, and see if you get replies. Do your part to start and keep up conversations.
“Engage!” he said. “It is not just for Trekkies anymore. This is the best change to LinkedIn over the last few years. You can identify the right search terms for your area of expertise and engage on posts in that area.”
This includes engaging with people, having discussions and giving thoughts on their posts.
“Post yourself,” Shapiro said. “Use the right keywords and share things that add value. Send a message to the folks who viewed your profile. They expressed interest. Find out why.
“Monetize your endorsements,” he said. “When folks endorse you, thank them and ask how you can use that skill for them.”
Joining a “networking” or “sharing” pod where folks agree to comment on each other’s posts is good, keeping in mind to never spam.
“Stand behind your LinkedIn endorsements,” Shapiro said. “They may be a joke to many, but stand behind your word. Do not tag every person you ever met on your LinkedIn posts. Add value.”
While a LinkedIn premium account might be tempting, it’s not for everyone.
“Have a good strategy and clear goal of what you what to accomplish before paying for a premium LinkedIn account,” Shapiro said. “Left to your own devices and initiative, you likely can do just as well going cheap yet smart.
“Premium is not for 99 percent of users,” he said. “It can add value if you are a recruiter or need to conduct a lot of searches. You also can see 90 days of the people who viewed your profile with Premium, but LinkedIn defaults to the last five.”
Rather than the high-priced solution, users of standard LinkedIn can get similar results by checking every few hours.
“Remember to engage those folks who viewed your profile,” Shapiro said. “They showed interest in you. Save your money on premium. LinkedIn does offer a free month once a year. Just make sure to cancel before you get charged.
“My direct messages are open,” he said. “My feed is going too quickly to respond. DM me, and I will respond.”
LinkedIn also has an Open Candidate feature that users with no work experience can benefit from.
“Open Candidate allows you to signal to recruiters that you are open for new positions,” Shapiro said. “This is great for passive candidates-or students going to school full time or working a college job.
“Their LinkedIn profile might say that they are working full time, but recruiters will know they are open,” he said.
Shapiro added that LinkedIn tries to hide the fact that someone is an open candidate from a current employer.
“Recruiters at your company can’t see that you are ‘Open,’ but that is far from perfect,” he said. “For example, a recruiter working on behalf of your company might see your ‘Open’ status. Make sure to set your interest parameters correctly.”
Be sure to include many job options of interest.
“Don’t forget to set an alert and signal your interest at your companies of interest as well,” Shapiro said.
He included several “great” LinkedIn resources:
Shapiro and Sklar continued their LinkedIn conversation on Facebook Live.